Archive by date | September 2006

I left my phone in San Francisco

Well, this blog is slightly overdue, since the ACS meeting has been over for nearly a week. But, I think I’m still adjusting back to East Coast time, so clearly I couldn’t be expected to muse on all the interesting talks I saw until now?! Also I’ve been at a loss without my phone, although I have to say, a phone is easier to recover than your heart (but thanks, Tony, for the title suggestion), especially when you just leave it at a friend’s house…  … Read more

Grand theft auto: Levinthal paradox city

I doubt many people think about protein folding when shopping for a new video game console, but if you’re interested in protein folding and thinking about buying a PlayStation 3 next month, there’s an article on CNN.com you should read. Apparently “Sony worked with Stanford University’s ”http://folding.stanford.edu/“>Folding@home project to harness the PS3’s technology to help study how proteins are formed in the human body and how they sometimes form incorrectly.”  … Read more

ACS: Poly want an enzyme?

Polymers and biology, together in perfect harmony. This meeting has intrigued me with a number of sessions about bio-related polymers. Timothy Long’s group had two: one about determining which physical properties of polymers make the best vectors for gene therapy, and one about using DNA base pairs to make a polymer with two sets of properties. Heat it to disassociate the base pairs, and you get a flowy substance, cool to clamp them together again, and you’ve got something strong enough to do something with. Plus, there’s bio-inspired dental polymers from Temple University, enzymes in polymers for sensors from Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, and polymers derived from soybean oil, feathers, and rice. Finally, there was a presentation on making better cigarette filters from Salmon sperm, from the Ogata Research Laboratory, Ltd.  Read more

ACS: Sittin’ on the dock of the bay

After the morning session, I jumped in a cab and went to UCSF’s Mission Bay campus – it’s a 43-acre campus that was acquired at no cost to the university and contains a number of laboratories, centers, and research institutes. It’s quite large and is getting bigger: “”http://pub.ucsf.edu/missionbay/faq/“>[a]bout 1,700 faculty, students, scholars and staff already work in the new UCSF Mission Bay campus community. At full build-out, 9,100 people are expected to work and study at the new campus.”  … Read more

ACS: butternut squash soup

J.J. La Clair, the controversial chemist (for background, see http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060731/full/442492c.html) in the mutton chop sideburns, gave a talk today to a packed room. It was hot, stuffy, and young in there, as he talked us, mic-less, through what he called “an approach used in a number of labs that I’ve developed, optimized and made easier to use.” As far as I could tell as a layman, the approach had to do with designing synthesis of natural products with florescent labeling and biological tests in mind. I’ll leave an evaluation of the technical content to others more synthesis (or biology)-savvy than I. I’ll just mention that his first slide talked about his Xenobe Research Institute (which is pronounced “zen-OH-bee”). His slide said that the company was working on 80 studies with academe, industry and government. He must be a pretty busy man.  Read more

ACS: Conference bon bons

-Our gung-ho enthusiasm for antidepressants mean that there is a certain amount of Prozac in the water these days. Freshwater mussels are less than pleased, though, since Prozac is making them release their larvae before they are viable. Freshwater mussels are sensitive creatures, and 70 percent of the species native to North America are extinct.  Read more

ACS: Clicking and beeping

I went to a talk on by UCSB’s Robert Vestberg, on “Synthesis of hydrogels with well defined network structure using Click chemistry”, because I have been hearing this buzzword floating around – “click chemistry”—and I wanted to figure out what it was.  Read more